In outlining these Ten Commitments, we are talking here about the contours of a well-formed, balanced, and mature identity for Jewish followers of Yeshua. And for sure, being “well-formed, balanced, and mature” will include being respectful, judicious, and appropriate. What I mean is this: God has not called us to button-hole everyone we see and give them a dose of our religious views. This is not a well-formed, balanced, and mature way of living. I have known people like this, and they can be counted upon to trigger awkward, embarrassing, and counterprodictive social encounters.
In this area, as in much of life, the key is striking the right balance. Just as God has not called us to be that button-holer, he has not called us to be in hiding either. A mature Yeshua believer cannot justify being in hiding, except in a country like North Korea or some other contexts where identifiability is a death sentence, or nearly so. And even in such contexts, believers in Yeshua continue to pay the supreme price
But certainly here in the West there can be no justification for a camouflaged Yeshua-faith. If we say we have faith in Yeshua our Messiah, that we are his followers, then we will stand up and be counted, which is not the same as standing up and being an obnoxious button-holer. But being a hide-in-a-hole person is not right either.
Yeshua spoke sternly on this matter, because he knew that we would be tempted to hide out rather than coming out. He said this: “if someone is ashamed of me and of what I say in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).
Yes, these are hard words. But it may be widely observed, that people who claim to be Yeshua believers and who never come out of the faith closet are never “well-formed, balanced, or mature.” In fact, one might wonder if they are believers in the biblical sense. In my lifetime I have never met someone who was hiding out who was “well-formed, balanced, or mature.” God delights to give to his children For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but [a Spirit–the Holy Spirit] of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:7). But that Spirit is not evident, developed, nor in control in people who are hiding out.
The term “Jewish believer in Yeshua” is an unfortunate one, because the term for beliee in Greek, pisteuo, does not suggest assent or agreement, but rather, commitment and trust. If we are committed to him, we will stand up and be counted, and people won’t have to endlessly wonder if we are “one of them.” They will know.
If you haven’t done so, don’t you think it’s time to come out of this particular closet? Only those who do so will know the startling life-dynamics that Yeshua lavishes upon his people as we live our lives empowered and accompanied by “a Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.”